The wonderful Calderdale corner of Yorkshire, home of the Brontes and the wild Yorkshire Pennines, comes alive during the winter season with festive markets and fabulous quirky Christmas shopping in hotspots like Haworth and Hebden Bridge. Events take on a vintage and festive feel, and here’s our pick of the top 10 things to do in Bronte Country this Winter/ Christmas season along with great places to stay like Popples Cottage sleeping 4/6 just 5 miles from Haworth and 3 miles from Halifax.
1. Haworth Steampunk Weekend, 18-20 November 2016
One of West Yorkshire’s best kept secrets and in its fourth year – if you’re looking for a music weekender to get you into the festive spirit look to the Steampunk Weekend in Bronte village Haworth. Increasingly attracting interest, Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction usually featuring steam-powered machinery inspired by 19th century western industrialism. No surprise then that at the heart of this event is beloved steam railway – the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.
Pick up tickets via the facebook page or direct from The Black Bull Pub on Haworth Main Street. This quirky festival includes a masquerade Ball, vintage vehicles, dancers and Burlesque Performers and lots more.
2. Lamplighter Festival, Todmorden – Saturday 19th November
Make a weekend of this hidden gem of a light festival featuring some truly breathtaking hand-crafted lanterns, fire performers, illuminated installations and fabulous food. The Illuminated Street Festival takes place from 5 to 7pm, followed by the Lantern Parade at 7pm and a firey finale.
3. The Night Market, Halifax – Preview the Transformation of The Piece Hall
Did you know one of the UK’s most exciting heritage renovation projects is taking place now at the unique Grade I Listed Georgian Piece Hall market place in Halifax centre. A £19 million conservation and transformation project is currently well underway, and this unique heritage space is due to reopen in 2017 with an array of new shops, cafes, bars and restaurants within its stunning 18th century colonnades. The site will also be a unique concert and events venue, and will host a year round programme of themed markets, performance, film, visual arts and sports.
Whilst the transformation continues inside The Piece Hall, this Christmas season external walls are to be illuminated as part of The Night Market and the broader Spirit of Halifax Festival Christmas event. The Night Market bespoke installation created by artists Chris Mould and Matt Howarth is free each day from dusk to 9pm from Saturday 26 November to Sunday 4 December – be there at The Piece Hall, North Gate (via Woolshops).
4. Santa Steam Specials on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway
Santa says book now and be quick for these popular Santa Special trains on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. Three weekend slots are fully booked already – some tickets are still available for 26/27th November and the 3rd/4th November. Santa Specials trains run from Keighley, Haworth and Oxenhope stations.
There’s always the Mince Pie Specials train service too, running from Boxing Day up until 1st January 2017 – a real festive treat travelling through sparkly stations lit up for Christmas with mince pies galore and an on-board real ale buffet car…. festive heaven!
5. Take in a Pantomime at the Victoria Theatre Halifax
Swashbuckling panto treats on offer this year in the West Yorkshire area include Peter Pan at the Victoria Theatre Halifax running from 10th December 2016 to 2nd January 2017. There’s always an atmosphere in this great three level theatre featuring some of our best late Victorian theatre architecture. You’ll be dazzled as soon as you walk in by the original broad staircase and dome.
6. Hebden Bridge Christmas Lights Switch On – 25th November 2016
Head to St George’s Square in Hebden Bridge on Friday 25th November for the Christmas Lights Switch On, and stay fro a Christmas shopping weekend . A Christmas Artfair is also taking place at the Town Hall on St George’s Street, Hebden Bridge on the Saturday 26th November from 11am to 4pm.
7. Christmas Shopping Weekends in Hebden Bridge
Some might not imagine Christmas shopping could be a pleasurable experience but in Hebden Bridge it’s always a joy. This Calderdale market town is brimming with independent shops, enticing old inns and cafes and around it spectacular Pennine moorland hikes, and woodland walks in Hardcastle Crags. Your perfect Christmas shopping weekend with friends or family all wrapped up – book now and discover unique festive gifts aplenty.
8. Canalside Christmas Dinner at the newly opened Stubbing Wharf pub in Hebden Bridge
Great news – one of Calderdale’s most popular real ale inns, The Stubbing Wharf Pub alongside the Rochdale Canal in Hebden Bridge, has recently reopened after a complete renovation following flood damage last year.
The Christmas menu will be served from 1st December to 22nd December, Monday to Friday 12 noon to 6pm (pre-order for parties over 8). The newly opened restaurant is picking up some great reviews, and this favourite Yorkshire inn serves a range of local real ales, rotating 4 ales on a regular basis. Special canal boat dining cruises are also available alongside the inn.
9. Victorian Christmas Festival at Brighouse – Sat 26/Sun 27 November 2016
Recreating a Dickensian Christmas, the Yorkshire Victorian Christmas Festival in Brighouse takes place this year on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 November 2016. A huge street market with stalls selling a range of Christmas gifts comes to town, and all the shops are decorated in a Victorian style.
10. Magical Christmas Experience at Eureka! The National Children’s Museum
Running from 3 December through to 2 January 2017, join the interactive Snow Day at Eureka this festive season or just pop in for a visit and to see Santa in his Grotto from 2 to 23 December.